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Sewer Definitions


A standard of measure in the Wastewater Industry much the same as a kilowatt hour and the British Thermal Units are in the electricity and gas industries, respectively. “Equivalent residential unit” or “ERU” means a unit of wastewater which incurs the same costs for operation and maintenance as the average volume of domestic wastes discharged from a single-family residence in the treatment works service area. The volume attributed to an ERU where a user discharges wastes of strength significantly different from average domestic waste strength shall be adjusted appropriately to account for the difference in the cost.

Tap Fee

A two (2) part system of assessing a property owner’s cost to tap into existing utility system. The tap fee includes:

  1. The cost of reserving capacity at the wastewater treatment plant based on the predicted amount of wastewater volume that will be used in terms of ERUs.
  2. The cost of the sewer tap and the servicemen physically tapping into the main sewer line.

Impact Fee

The cost to cover the impact that the applicant’s proposed project will impact the collection and transmission system. The more growth that occurs and adds to the current sewer system infrastructure, the more improvements, upgrades and maintenance must be invested in the system. Impact fees contribute to capital expenses to maintain the system, such as pipes, lift stations, planning for an additional wastewater treatment plant, etc.

Treatment Fee

The cost of transporting all of the wastewater to the nearest wastewater treatment plant, treating it to meet strict Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) standards, and returning the cleaned water to the environment.

Wastewater treatment plant

A facility in which physical, chemical, and biological processes are used to remove pollutants from wastewater before discharging it into a water body or groundwater.

Sewer main line, aka transmission line

The underground pipe that carries off liquid and solid sewage to be processed at a wastewater treatment plant.

Sewer lateral, aka sewer service line

The underground pipe that connects a residence or business to the sewer line

Right of way (property)

Legal right of passage over another person’s ground

a :  the area over which a right-of-way exists

b :  the strip of land over which is built a public road

c :  the land occupied by a railroad especially for its main line

d :  the land used by a public utility (as for a transmission line)

Lift station, aka pump station

A facility including pumps and equipment for pumping fluids from one place to another and the removal of sewage to wastewater treatment plants. BCSS currently owns and maintains 146 lift stations throughout Baldwin County.



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